Michael Gove Calls Out Social Housing Disrepair

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social housing disrepair
 Allaya Hussain
Legally reviewed by: Allaya Hussain In: Housing Disrepair

Housing secretary Michael Gove has named and shamed three more landlords for social housing disrepair. He states that landlords are failing their tenants and “letting people suffer in disgraceful conditions”.

Mr. Gove highlights Orbit, Lambeth Council, and Birmingham City Council. This comes after the Housing Ombudsman found severe maladministration in their handling of complaints.

The government revealed in March of 2022 that they would intend to start naming and shaming landlords that were performing poorly as social landlords. This comes as part of the governments sweeping reforms of the sector.

Recent Landlord Neglect Causing Social Housing Disrepair

With Mr. Gove’s recently named and shamed landlords, the total now stands at 14 social landlords.

The current social landlords that Mr. Gove has named are:

  • Clarion
  • Metropolitan Thames Valley
  • Johnnie Johnson Housing
  • Hackney Council
  • Housing Plus Group
  • Habinteg Housing
  • Shepherds Bush Housing Group
  • Southern Housing
  • Onward Homes
  • Catalyst
  • PA Housing
  • Orbit
  • Lambeth Council
  • Birmingham City Council

Social Landlord’s Pay Outs in 2022-2023

So far, the ombudsman has ordered landlords that are neglecting their duties to pay over £574,000 in compensation to social tenants.

Mr. Gove called out Orbit after they left an asthmatic tenant living with a serious damp, mould, and slug infestation. Recent cases like this have caused worsening conditions in the tenants and even in some instances have caused deaths.

Additionally, Lambeth Council faced critique after they left a tenant with boarded-up windows for three years. Similarly, Birmingham City Council failed to respond to a resident’s complaints of boiler faults and rotten floorboards in their living room.

Mr. Gove said the three landlords failed their tenants, “letting people suffer in disgraceful conditions while refusing to listen to complaints or treat them with respect”.

“Unacceptable for Legal Proceedings to Get in the Way of Repairs”

Mr. Gove has urged lawyers to direct tenants to the ombudsman first.

In a letter that Mr. Gove wrote to the Law Society, Citizens Advice, and Housing Law Practitioners Association, he stated that the Housing Ombudsman should be the first route that tenants to report complaints to. He adds that it is unacceptable for landlords to let legal proceedings get in the way of repairs.

Comments on Social Housing Disrepair

The government has been tightening up on social landlords following the tragic death of Awaab Ishak, a two-year-old who died from long-term exposure to mould after Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) failed to act while there was an ongoing disrepair claim.

Mr. Gove said: “While lawyers will always have a crucial role representing tenants in legal proceedings, the ombudsman services are free to use and residents are now able to bring complaints directly themselves, potentially avoiding lengthy and costly legal proceedings.”

“I’m urging everyone offering advice, from solicitors to voluntary organisations, to always direct social housing tenants with complaints to the Housing Ombudsman.”

“Every tenant deserves a decent home, and landlords must not use legal cases as an excuse to delay making repairs or act on complaints.”

The government is also launching a £1m public information campaign early this year. The campaign aims to explain tenants’ rights and publicize the services of the ombudsman.

Additionally, there will be a bigger focus on housing standards. It’s hoped that this will improve the social current stock instead of the budget being spent on building further stock.

Comments on social housing disrepair from a spokesperson from Birmingham City Council:

“As one of the largest social landlords in the country with 60,000 properties, Birmingham City Council takes its duty to provide all its tenants with suitable accommodation very seriously. “

“When individual cases do reach the Housing Ombudsman, the council takes the appropriate action to ensure any recommendations are adhered to. “

“The cases referred to in DLUHC’s press release are historical cases and relate to 2021-22 and have now been resolved.”

“Also, since then we have undertaken a review of how complaints and ombudsman cases are dealt with and have liaised directly with the Housing Ombudsman as part of our journey of improvement and are applying any lessons learned from these previous cases.”

Comments on social housing disrepair from a spokesperson from Orbit:

“Our customers deserve quality; affordable and safe homes and we welcome the intervention made by the secretary of state to encourage the legal profession to direct customers to use the complaints systems already in place through their landlords and the Housing Ombudsman.”

“We recognise that in this previously reported severe maladministration case we did not meet the expectations of our customer regarding the maintenance of her home, communications and complaint-handling, and have accepted the findings of the Housing Ombudsman, apologised to our customer, and we are working with her to finalise a resolution.”

Make a Social Housing Disrepair Claim with Help from Our Housing Disrepair Solicitors

Do you live in social housing and your home is in a state of disrepair? Our housing disrepair solicitors can help you claim for the social landlord to carry out necessary repairs. We can also help you claim compensation for physical or financial problems you have suffered as a result.

If your housing disrepair request has been neglected, our housing disrepair claims solicitors can help you claim for the repairs to be carried out. In addition, we can help you claim compensation for damage to your possessions, illness, and injury.

Our solicitors have found landlords can often ill-treat and misinform tenants of their rights. Therefore, our housing disrepair solicitors do more than just help you make a housing health claim. They can guide and support you when you have suffered and get you the justice you deserve. The solicitor’s regulation authority regulates our housing disrepair solicitors. Our housing disrepair solicitors will provide you with a free assessment. During the assessment, our solicitors can determine if we can take on your no-win, no-fee basis claim.

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